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Syracuse’s Hollow Feeling After Alex Murphy Commits to Duke

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Star recruit Alex Murphy’s decision to play for Duke this week does not come as a shock to many on the recruiting circuit. The Blue Devils seemed to be the favorite for the St. Mark’s standout (Southborough, MA) early in the process. Being a white, 6’8″ wing player immediately conjured up images of Kyle Singler as well, so pundits were quick to connect the dots.

No one can argue with the Blue Devils success, a Duke education, the ACC or Coach K’s reputation. But there’s always an underlying assumption that elite white players will jump to Durham. Fair or unfair? It’s likely done without malice, but worth being aware of for instances in the future.

The Fizz spoke with a D1 college coach who scouted Murphy and asked for his breakdown:

“Very skilled perimeter 4man (power forward), not much he can’t do. Can make shots, handle the ball, good all-around game. Will need to improve his defense at the college level, like most high school guys. Good fit at Duke.”

For Syracuse fans, the recruitment of Murphy will always seem dissatisfying. The Fizz chronicled Murphy’s suitors back in October when Syracuse was still on his unofficial list. But the now infamous preseason workout at St. Mark’s probably should’ve given us a hint at how much of player the Orange would be.

The Fizz titled the story, “Is SU a True Player for the Talented Alex Murphy?” The reason we were dubious even five months ago was because of Syracuse’s absence at one of the most highly-attended high school workouts in recent memory.

The suitors included National Champions Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Bill Self, Billy Donovan and Jim Calhoun. Bob Huggins, Jay Wright, North Carolina State’s Sidney Lowe, Boston College’s Steve Donahue, Michigan’s John Beilein, and Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins were in attendance as well. No Jim Boeheim. No Murphy or Hopkins.

For a school that was apparently on Murphy’s list and just a few hours west on I-90, it seems strange SU wasn’t at St. Mark’s that day. The tandem of Murphkins has cleaned up on the recruiting trail recently and pulled in two McDonald’s All-Americans in this class (Michael Carter-Williams and Rakeem Christmas), plus a finalist in Trevor Cooney. It’s hard to question their decisions.

Maybe the Orange knew all along Murphy was heading to Duke. It’s possible the rest of the coaching fraternity was also there to watch highly-touted teammate Kaleb Tarczewski (who may be leaning toward Kansas). But there will always be an uneasy feeling that Syracuse let a big one get away.

Posted: D.A.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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